Millennial Employees and Your Business

“Millennials want to work from home, they want flex time, they don’t want to work overtime, I’m told.”

Kevin JenningsPresident- JBVal

In my dealings with business owners and the professionals that work with them, I frequently hear of their difficulties in retaining staff. This often is directed at their employees who are millennials.  Millennials want to work from home, they want flex time, they don’t want to work overtime, I’m told.

In a recent lunch with an entrepreneurial millennial, Jason Hershkowitz, the CEO of Beyond the Staff*, I heard a very different, and informative, perspective.  

Jason says these “complaints” are all true but are really to the benefit of the business.  Millennials crave challenge and accountability. They seek employers who will test their abilities by assigning to them responsibilities beyond what their age and resume may tell the employer they can handle.  They want mentoring from their employer when needed, not a boss who looks over their shoulder and directs their every move.

In return, the millennial will do his/her best to deliver.  They will seek input when stumped. Millennials don’t see the need for a 9 to 5 presence at the office.  Their belief is “If I can get the job done effectively and timely, it doesn’t matter where, when or how I work.”  It struck me that this is the attitude of the typical entrepreneur. Shouldn’t we employ people like us? The ongoing success of our businesses when we move on depends on it.

Our generation was trained to work at the office. Is that the best and only answer?  In starting your business or professional practice, didn’t you fit in work hours whenever and wherever you could?  Yet, we expect our employees to work as if they are employed by a large corporation where punching the timeclock is more important than getting the job done.

Millennials don’t measure their worth by the hours they put in.  If they accomplish their responsibilities in 30 hours, the shortfall from the 40-hour standard week is theirs to spend as they like.  Overtime is not an issue though they want to control the location and timeframe.

Millennials treasure their personal time, whether it is time spent with family, friends or on solo ventures.  They need the flexibility to take time off for these events, whether it’s going to a kid’s soccer game after school or doing charity work at 10:30 am on a Tuesday.  Ironically, I often hear business owners and professionals lament they didn’t invest the time in these activities when their families (and they themselves) were younger.  

Most importantly, who raised this millennial generation with this attitude so different from ours?  WE DID!

For other perspectives on this topics check out Forbes – Wow, what a pessimistic but informative article!  It reinforces the idea put forth in my article that we, as employers and business owners, need to look at Millennials in a different light.  We must remember though that generalizations that surveys and insights reveal are just that, they are not a roadmap for treating any individual.

Food for thought.  Comments are welcome.  Simply click Comments to state your position.

Beyond the Staff has proven success in helping small business owners realize superior employee acquisition and retention while achieving significant cost savings.  Jason can be reached at 631-258-9479